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Biden’s pick who said US ‘owns’ Syrian oil territory draws flak

Activists are outraged by US President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Pentagon's Middle East desk who previously admitted to Washington’s plundering of oil resources in Syria’s northeast controlled by US-backed Kurdish militants.

In an interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) back in October 2019, Dana Stroul that had said the US military “owns” the resource-rich north eastern part of Syria controlled by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and uses it as “leverage” in the conflict.

“The United States still had compelling forms of leverage on the table to shape an outcome that was more conducive and protective of US interests,” Stroul said then.

“The first one was the one-third of Syrian territory that was owned via the US military with its local partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces. Now this was a light footprint on the US military, only about a thousand troops over the course of the Syria Study Group’s report; and then the tens of thousands of forces, both Kurdish and Arab, under the Syria Democratic Forces. And that one-third of Syria is the resource-rich – it’s the economic powerhouse of Syria. So where the hydrocarbons are, which obviously is very much in the public debate here in Washington these days, as well as the agricultural powerhouse.” 

“We argued that it wasn’t just about this one-third of Syrian territory that the US military and our military presence owned, both to fight ISIS (Daesh) and also as leverage for affecting the overall political process for the broader Syria conflict,” the Biden’s new pick added.

Stroul’s comments were met with harsh responses from social media users and activists, who highlighted the plundering of Syria’s natural assets by the US administrations over the years.

Sarah Abdallah, an Independent Lebanese geopolitical commentator, said in a tweet that Washington is “proudly boasting about how the US military ‘owns’ the resource-rich part of Syria, the economic powerhouse of Syria, where the oil and wheat are.”

“Remember this the next time the US claims it wants to bring freedom & democracy to other countries,” she underlined.

Joe Biden’s pick to head the Pentagon’s Middle East Desk boasting about how the US military owns the oil-rich territory of #Syria, and will use it as leverage in its ongoing war.

Remember this the next time the US claims it wants to bring freedom & democracy to other countries. pic.twitter.com/ALoz71hfvD— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) January 29, 2021

Proudly boasting about how the US military “owns” the resource-rich part of Syria, the economic powerhouse of Syria, where the oil and wheat are.

Also says the sanctions will continue and the US will prevent any reconstruction aid from entering Syria.— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) January 29, 2021

Lina Arabi, a Syrian rights activist, posted on her Twitter page photos of Syrians rummaging through garbage as Americans occupy an oil field in the background.

“Take the oil” is not just a Trump thing, she wrote.

Look at those photos while you hear Biden’s pick to head Pentagon’s Middle East Desk, Dana Stroul, say the oil-rich territory is “owned” by the US military.

“Take the oil” is not just a Trump thing. pic.twitter.com/UqiN8VC7MU— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) January 29, 2021

These photos of Syrians rummaging through garbage as Americans occupy an oil field in the background.. pic.twitter.com/ofr8svVJqr— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) January 29, 2021

Syrian people have repeatedly demonstrated against the looting and smuggling of oil by the US-backed and Kurdish-led militants in the country’s north and east.

The looting of Syrian oil by the US was first confirmed during a Senate hearing exchange between South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last July.

During his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 30, Pompeo confirmed for the first time that an American oil company would begin work in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by SDF militants.

The SDF, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish militants operating against Damascus, currently controls areas in northern and eastern Syria.

The Syrian government has condemned any agreement inked to plunder the country’s natural resources, including Syrian oil and gas, with the sponsorship of the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

The ex-US president acknowledged several times that American military forces were in Syria for the Arab country’s oil.

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